Patrick Ewing had a brilliant NBA career and is arguably the greatest New York Knick of all time. When the NBA named its Top 50 players of all time, Ewing was there. No one really doubts his greatness.
Yet he was a very different player in the NBA than he was in college and when he was at Georgetown, Ewing was terrifyingly good.
We don’t choose that word lightly.
Ewing was a highly sought-after recruit who ended up a Georgetown Hoya, where he helped to create the enduring image of Georgetown basketball in the John Thompson era.
As a freshman, Ewing was a revelation. He played much like a bigger, younger version of Bill Russell. He was a ferocious shotblocker who could run like a dream. In the West regional finals, Ewing personally destroyed Oregon State in the first few minutes of the game, utterly dominating the Beavers. In one early sequence, he blocked a shot and beat everyone down court for a dunk. The game was over just a few minutes after it started: Ewing was that good.
He was superb in the NBA as well, but he never ran as well as he did in college, nor was he as agile. He did learn his craft well though and took advantage of his powerful physique to dominate in the NBA. Maybe the fact that he was essentially different players in college and in the NBA is testimony to just how great he truly was.